Arts Education Artist Page

Linda Fifield

Visual Arts and CraftsBeadwork

Linda Fifield
Berea, Kentucky, Ky.
Linda Fifield was raised in a large Appalachian family in southeastern Kentucky in an environment rich with handmade works. Creativity was an integral part of daily life. Her skills include basketry, quilting, hand braided leatherwork, woodturning and beadwork. Her main focus over the past 35 years has been beadwork, and she is adept at a number of beading techniques. Linda is a self-taught bead artist and her signature beaded vessels can be found in numerous museums, public and private collections. Linda markets her work at national shows such as the Smithsonian Museum, Philadelphia Museum and American Craft Exposition in addition to the statewide Kentucky Crafted: The Market. Her work has been featured in a number of magazine articles and books. Since 1996, Linda has had a range of teaching experience and has taught at the Eiteljorg Indian Art Museum, Racine Art Museum, Kentucky Museum Art and Craft, Kentucky School of Craft, Berea Learnshops and in public schools working with elementary and high school students.

Potential Residency Project

Potential Residency Projects 10-day residency Grades 9-12.

2D Beaded Artwork Process:
“Back/Running” stitch a bead embroidery technique.
Students will be introduced to a Native American beading technique and will learn to use the traditional stitch along with variations to achieve both geometric and curvilinear designs. The finished beaded works could be suitable as individual wall art or combined to create a collaborative wall hanging.

  • Teaching approach:
    Use a PowerPoint presentation showing beaded art from different cultures, e.g., Native American and African with examples of both historical and contemporary work.
  • Examine actual 2-D and 3-D beaded artworks to stimulate discussion of how color, line, texture and movement has been used.
  • Discuss how bead art has been used in diverse cultures, e.g. ceremonial, expressive, narrative and functional. Consider how bead art can reflect the beliefs of people from various cultural groups.
  • Discuss the evolution of beadwork and how contemporary artists use ancient beading techniques to create art.
  • Students will be guided through the steps of designing a beading pattern on paper with emphasis on elements of art and principals of design, specifically color, texture, line and movement. Sources of inspiration will be discussed and students will be encouraged to express their individuality and creativity. These paper bead designs will be used as the beading pattern/blueprint and stitching will be done onto a fabric foundation. Beading will be accomplished using Czech glass seed beads and nylon thread. Various sizes and varieties of embellishments could be combined for added texture when desired.
  • I demonstrate the beading technique and provide several sample beading patterns and “practice” pieces and allow the students the opportunity to experiment until they become comfortable with executing the stitch on their own artworks. This hands-on approach to learning can provide insight into the traditions and art processes of different cultures. By participating in the creation of beaded art, students experience a sense of accomplishment and gain a greater appreciation for artists past and present. This residency meets several of the Kentucky Core Academic Standards in the Arts and Humanities and could be used as cross-curricular teaching in the English Language Arts.